An integrated information system for Hong Kong construction contractors
In the 1990s the capital investment, the standards of technology involved, the complexity of co-ordination, the quality requirements and the speed of construction projects in the world, have been substantially increased in both public and private sectors. These changes have forced contractors to increase their efficiency of management, not only to satisfy their business and commercial requirements but also for their survival in the industry due to the highly competitive environment. The continuing development of information technology has a great impact on all disciplines including construction management, and good information is increasingly important to construction managers. The research described in the thesis is based on the construction industry of Hong Kong, which is a magnet for all the best construction contractors and professionals in the world, due to the sale of the projects involved and the commercial systems provided. However, the principles generated by this research are of more general application in the management of construction projects. The main outcomes of the research are as follows: a) The existing practices and the impacts of the new developments in the construction projects of Hong Kong have been examined. b) A model of construction management practice in Hong Kong has been developed by taking into consideration previous researches, published literatures, current practices and new impacts. c) A comprehensive computer system using a fourth-generation language has been developed. The system involves two levels of operation including the management practices of head office and construction sites. The functions provided by the system include estimation and quality assurance at head office level. The site level systems provide the functions of information control, cost control, materials control and progress control. The integration of information flow among these functions is the main consideration in the development of the system. The system has been put into field tested using the construction projects of Hong Kong as described in the thesis, and has been found to be effective.